Premier League

Portugal predicted lineup vs France

Diogo Costa of Portugal celebrates a saved penalty kick...

An eventful last-16 victory over Slovenia has set up a tantalising quarter-final clash with France for Portugal at Euro 2024.

The Euro 2016 champions couldn’t find a goal in regulation or extra time against FIFA’s 57th-ranked side, with Cristiano Ronaldo’s infamous and teary display seeing international football’s record goalscorer miss a penalty in the 105th minute. Diogo Costa spared Portugal’s blushes with a terrific save to deny Benjamin Sesko in the dying embers and three penalty stops in the shootout.

Roberto Martinez’s side simply must improve if they harbour genuine hopes of reaching the semi-finals. A match-up with France, the side they beat 1-0 in the final of this competition eight years ago, will push them to their limits, even if Les Bleus have underwhelmed in Germany so far.

With some enormous decisions to make, Martinez must get the big calls right to give Portugal a fighting chance of overcoming the 2022 World Cup finalists.

Diogo Costa of Portugal celebrates a saved penalty kick...

Costa was the hero in the last 16 / SOPA Images/GettyImages

GK: Diogo Costa – If Portugal go on to win Euro 2024, Costa will have been the deciding factor. His heroics in the last 16 will never be forgotten, with the Porto stopper putting in one of the all-time great displays at a major tournament.

RB: Joao Cancelo – A relentless showing from Cancelo against Slovenia, who struggled to stifle his creativity in the second half. There are always questions about his defensive acumen, which will be tested fiercely by Kylian Mbappe on Friday.

CB: Ruben Dias – It was another clean sheet for Dias, who held up his end of the bargain in defence. The Manchester City star didn’t put a foot wrong against Slovenia.

CB: Pepe – The 41-year-old’s error almost cost Portugal their place at Euro 2024 last time out, but the veteran was bailed out by his goalkeeper. His spot in the starting lineup isn’t in doubt, but he may not be able to play another 120 minutes against France.

LB: Nuno Mendes – The Paris Saint-Germain defender has impressed at this summer’s tournament, chiefly in the final third. Mendes and Barcelona’s Jules Kounde will reunite this Friday after enjoying a good battle in last season’s Champions League.

DM: Vitinha – Comfortably Portugal’s standout performer at Euro 2024, Vitinha has blossomed in a box-to-box role alongside Joao Palhinha. A classy operator, his energy is just as important as his technical prowess.

DM: Joao Palhinha – The Fulham destroyer was typically combative against Slovenia and will be even more active…

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